Preparing an Introduction
This roundtable topic is all about your introduction lesson or (Jikoshokai in Japanese). This lesson will set the tone for your future lessons with your classes. This could be your very first class as an ALT or perhaps you are welcoming new students at the start of the school year. Either way they are eager to get to know you and to see what you have to offer.
First impressions are everything:
If you bring great energy and humor starting off, students will be far more willing to interact with you later on. Students are always nervous, they expect teachers to be rigid in their lessons and let’s face it, boring. Bring some excitement into lesson by providing some visuals, some exciting activities, and get the students active.
If the students see you as a fun and interesting person they will be excited to have your classes each week. The students may not understand everything you say, but if you appear excited to see them, provide them visually engaging material, and get them active either mentally or physically they will enjoy their very first lesson with you and look forward to your next.
How to Spice Up Your Intro?
There are a few ways of doing this. Visual materials are key though. Bring photos of your home, your life, and customs from where you come from. You could print out and laminate large copies of these photos, create some photo books to pass around, or you could use PowerPoint and a projector to show these photos. Because technology may vary greatly from school to school you should find a method to present these visuals that best suits your environment.
Video also impresses students, although photos can be visually engaging, showing students video makes what they see seem all the more real and relatable. These videos could be highlights of the natural beauty of where you come from, a video from your family’s holidays or vacations, or it could be recordings of festivals in your hometown or even sport games.
Also talk about things you like to do. The best way to relate with students is to talk about your hobbies, interests and likes/dislikes. Talk about what you like to do in your free time, do you like sports? What kind of music do you like? What are your favorite foods? What do you like most about Japan? Things that students can go Hey! I know that! I like it too!
Keeping Students Engaged:
Alongside your introduction try to include some other activities or games, perhaps test the students on your introduction with a worksheet or activity that reinforces names of places and topics about you. Bring in some treats and reward student who can remember your name, where you are from, what your hobbies are etc. You could prepare a worksheet with some questions about your introduction and then ask the students some questions about their likes and dislikes.
Your introduction is as much about introducing you to your students as it is being the first engaging, fun, and interactive lesson they will have with you. If you seem to be a fun, outgoing, and interesting person coming into the class, students will feel more confident to express themselves in the future.